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This story appears in the issue of School LIVE.

Thirty four days had passed. Thirty four days of isolation, sitting solitarily by the fireplace in an empty, barred house. Thirty four days of depression, drowning his sorrows in glass after relentless glass of whiskey. Thirty four days without a purpose in life, thirty four days of absolute nothingness.

Racing had become a thing of the past, more like a different life. A few weeks ago his sponsors had forced him to participate in a race if they were to continue to support him but it was useless. His coach had hoped that racing might help him get his mojo back but to no avail. He ended up finishing last, to the extreme pleasure of his rivals and after that, retreated back into his cave, making them happier than ever. He felt like punching each one of them in their smug little faces but just the thought of his son, who had been completely against violence, held him back.

Yet he knew he couldn’t shut out the outside world forever. Just yesterday he’d gotten a call from his son’s school, asking him to come and pick up a few of his son’s belongings. It was probably all worthless now but at that point of time he would give anything just to get a small piece of his son back. So he decided to temporarily break out of his bubble and go to the school; he knew that’s what his son would have wanted him to do.

He reached the school and was ushered in by the principal. She led him to his son’s classroom and it took every ounce of his courage not to break down when he saw the place where his son had sat studying almost every single day but would never again. Tentatively, his hand caressed his desk, his chair, his locker, perhaps trying to feel any possible shred of his presence left behind in these inanimate objects. Then he turned his attention towards the packet the teachers had assembled for him, containing his son’s belongings. He picked up textbooks with doodles on them, folders filled with assignments and odd bits of stationary he’d left lying around. Overwhelmed, he bit his lip to stop himself from crying and continued to rummage through the packet. Finally, he saw his son’s diary, covered with a thin film of dust due to neglect. He flipped it open and a sheet of neatly folded paper fluttered to the floor. He picked it up, opened it and silently read it. When he was done there was no more holding back his tears. They’d broken all barriers and were freely running down his face. Silent, he gathered his stuff and drove back home.


A month later Peyton Voltz was racing once again. And not just racing, but winning. He came back with a bang, racing better than ever. He broke his own record- twice! He won the gold at the Olympics yet again and even started winning in other categories as well. He had no inhibitions and so he gave it all he got, and reaped phenomenal results. After all, the best way to take revenge on his jealous competitors was by showing them that he’d accepted his loss and wasn’t crippled. And before each race, sitting there in the locker room moments before the race, he would take out that piece of paper and read it, mouthing the words he knew by heart.

“The person I admire the most isn’t a world leader or a great artist, it is my dad. He’s the greatest fighter I know. Ever since he started out with his career, life threw a million obstacles in his way but my dad overcame each and every one of them. He inspires me to follow my dreams to the best of my abilities, to be fearless and tackle challenges no matter what. Nothing can stop my dad from doing what he loves and I hope one day I’ll be lucky enough to match the level of his courage, because jumping back every time life puts you down is the mark of a true hero. I love you Dad.”


Aditya Vir Singh              Manya Kapoor           Pratyaksh Singhal





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